ANTONIETA EDWARDS FROM TEACHER TO BOOK COMPILER
BY JEAN PERRY
The road that led out of teaching and into self-help coloring books seemed an interruption, at first. “After teaching for twenty-three years I asked myself what I wanted to do next,” says Antonieta Edwards, self-published purveyor of three coloring books: Mindful Reflections Patterns of Hope, Mindful Reflections Patterns of Faith, and Mindful Reflections Patterns of Love.
“I was reading Barbara Sher’s book Refuse to Choose. The title evokes the idea that we can do it all, but not all at one time. While listing my goals sequentially, I saw that the first thing I was looking for was calm, and the second was to become more focused.”
Her first thought was to write a book but narration just didn’t come. “Then one day the word ‘mandalas!’ popped into my head”, she said. Her project began to take shape. Since she wasn’t going to write a how-to book she thought she might achieve the same message through images. She began to research self-help coloring books for adults.
The first self-help coloring books she looked at showed mandalas. “In the books, I went through, I found the pictures of mandalas somewhat small, and the ink so heavy it seemed to interfere with the designs.”
Was there something besides mandalas that would to draw viewers into the state of calming focus she aimed to create? Having grown up in the Republic of Panama where women still make quilts by hand she thought of using quilting blocks as the basis for her designs.
“I wondered if quilting blocks would work. I went to the African American Quilters of Los Angeles, to inquire about these. I found quilt blocks I liked but as I put the blocks together, I found I did not have the design skills needed to make the resulting patterns pleasing to the eye.
“I knew that Abraham Friedman Occupational Center, in downtown Los Angeles, had vocational classes so I called there; an instructor said she had a student who could help me. She referred me to Sandra Presley, a graphic designer, who was taking classes with her. Ms. Presley did the digital impressions for all my books. The cover concept is an original design by Russell White, a graphics artist who resides in Northern California.”
A collector of inspirational quotes, Edwards added these to her pages, with room for readers to write down their impressions. The combination of calm and focus she was searching for had arrived. In hindsight, she feels that the road from teacher to book compiler wasn’t an interruption, but simply a transition onto her next path-entrepreneurship.
“I have plans for twelve themed journals. I am encouraged to continue this journey because I have received very positive feedback from those that have seen and or purchased the journals and they’ve given me many different ideas on how my books can be used.”
Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation in Los Angeles has been instrumental in moving her project along. Staff there helped her write a business plan, obtain a DBA (Doing Business As) license and a TID (business tax identification number). She is also working with authenticity coach Norma Hollis on ways to move her project forward and taking a class on how to pitch her project. “My sales have not been great because I have not kept up with doing the ongoing publicity that is needed. These skills will empower me to present with confidence.” Visit her website: www.mindfulreflectionspatterns.com
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The books are also available from Amazon and at Eso Won Bookstore in Los Angeles.